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Protecting Assets From Loss In a Divorce Print E-mail
Written by David B. Mandell, JD, MBA & Jason M. O'Dell, CWM   
Friday, 11 May 2012 08:50

Each year, thousands of physicians are frustrated with the financial consequences of their marital dissolution. They may believe the judgments are overly burdensome, or they may lose personal assets intended for children, or family assets intended to remain within the family. With proper advance planning, the financial pain of a divorce can be minimized.

Using a Premarital Agreement

A premarital agreement (or prenuptial agreement, premarital contract, ante-nuptial agreement, etc.) is the foundation of any financial protection in the case of a divorce. The premarital agreement is a written contract between the intended spouses that specifies the division of property and income upon divorce, including the disposition of specific personal property, such as family heirlooms. It also states the responsibilities of each party and their children after divorce. Finally, these agreements can lay out responsibilities during marriage, such as what each spouse can expect in financial support or the religion that will be used to raise future children. The agreement cannot limit child support.

Protecting Assets after Marriage

Many physicians seek advice about protecting assets when they foresee their marriage ending. Generally, there is not much one can do to shield assets if they are not already protected through a premarital agreement. However, when implemented in a transaction with real economic substance (such as benefit, tax or estate planning), certain planning techniques may have a secondary benefit of lowering the value of an asset for marital dissolution purposes. This valuation benefit can be significant when the court eventually splits assets. Options include investing in certain types of benefit plans through the practice, non-traded REITs and other temporarily-illiquid investments, specific types of cash value life insurance, and annuities.

Conclusion: Planning is Completely Fact-Specific

Whether planning before marriage, after marriage, or even for a family member, no one tactic or approach works well for all clients. Consulting with advisors who are well-versed in family law and asset protection is critical for achieving the greatest level of insulation from loss in a divorce

Please click HERE to read important disclosures.

David Mandell is an attorney and principal of the financial consulting firm OJM Group, where Jason O'Dell is also a principal. They can be reached at or 877-656-4362.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 May 2012 09:08
Common Estate Planning Errors that Could Cost Your Family Millions Print E-mail
Written by Jason O'Dell, MS, CWM   
Monday, 07 May 2012 11:06

Financial consulting experience has revealed significant estate planning mistakes by doctors and their families. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help circumvent such mistakes and avoid the unnecessary costs associated with poor planning. An overview of these issues is provided below.

Mistake #1: Inadequate Estate Planning Options

Doctors need customized estate planning but often get "off the rack" solutions that do not maximize available benefits. Unfortunately, most accountants, financial advisors, insurance agents, and estate planning attorneys do not spend the majority of their time handling larger estates with the assets that doctors can amass over decades of practice. Working with attorneys and other advisors specialized in larger clients will help ensure that all tax and financial planning advantages are implemented.

Mistake #2: Inadequate Insurance Information

Life insurance is an extremely complex aspect of estate planning that many agents do not integrate into a total strategy. While cash value life insurance can be a valuable tool for asset protection, tax management, wealth accumulation, and estate planning, it must be used properly. To this end, an insurance agent needs to assimilate knowledge of the financial situation and optimal insurance options with the plans and goals of other advisors on the team to maximize benefits.

Mistake #3: Unwittingly Leaving Retirement Accounts to the Government

The vast majority of the assets in pensions, 401(k)s, and IRAs can end up being owed to state and federal tax agencies at death. Strategies to avoid this loss of wealth include spending the retirement assets first or taking advantage of a Roth IRA conversion while the option is available. More advanced strategies may include the purchase of insurance within a retirement plan to avoid tax on benefits for your spouse or the creation of significant deductions to offset the tax on taxable withdrawals. While these techniques are beyond the scope of this brief article, the key is to implement the best strategy that accounts for financial goals, net worth, income, and anticipated bequests.


With the right team of sub-specialists, doctors can protect their assets from lawsuits, taxes and divorce while maintaining control, access to funds, and successful transference of millions to future generations. Finding the best team of financial advisors is critical to meeting these goals.

The author can be reached at (877) 656-4362  or
Please click HERE to read important disclosures.

What if the Supreme Court Overturns Healthcare Reform? Print E-mail
Written by Lawrence H. Schimmel, MD   
Friday, 04 May 2012 12:42


us supreme court Isn't it ironic that the future of the Affordable Care Act which was crafted in part by lawyers, approved in the House and the Senate primarily by lawyers, and subsequently challenged in the courts by lawyers will now be decided by lawyers who now are justices in the Supreme Court?

In about six weeks, the Supreme curt will render its decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They can choose to affirm the whole act, rule the whole act unconstitutional, or only rule parts unconstitutional. Their decision will affect all of us involved in the delivery of healthcare even though the vast majority of the change promised in the ACA has not yet even gone into effect.

My initial reaction was that it would not change the life of the average physician if the whole law was reversed in June. We would still get up every day, see our patients, and bill third parties for our services.

However, long-term there will be consequences if the act is overturned. This law was just the first step in what was contemplated to be a change in the delivery and payment for healthcare in our country. What should have been a procedural discussion became a political discussion and the act that is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court is a "politically compromised bill" that evolved so that it could gain the votes necessary for passage. The vision of healthcare reform was to create a system where outcomes driven by best medical practices were rewarded, a system where there would eventually be a seamless interface of communication between physicians utilizing the electronic medical record, and a system where preventive medicine would perhaps drive up costs initially but, in the long-term, reduce the burden as diseases were either prevented or caught earlier in their evolution.  

The mandate, about which we have heard so much, was a key provision in the reform bill. Of the 40-50 million uninsured individuals in our country, the vast majority are under 50 years of age and are working. Unfortunately, they do not have the resources to purchase insurance commercially, have pre-existing conditions that bring up the premium significantly, or they do not have group health insurance offered to them where they work. The mandate required these individuals to purchase some type of insurance from pools that were to be set up specifically for these patients. Their insurance would not be the best of the best nor would it be the worst of the worst. It would however, allow these patients to see a physician who would be compensated for the care they render. The crux of the debate was:  Can the government impose a penalty (tax) on individuals for non compliance?  This article is not to debate the issue, but what is wrong about requiring people to have health insurance? We require people to have auto insurance, have a drivers license, have homeowners insurance if they have a mortgage, etc., etc., etc. Early on we heard about the public mandate. That was eliminated from the bill due to political fighting, but in reality, what would have been wrong if we allowed this group of patients to "purchase" Medicare. The program already provides coverage for any person in the country with a permanent disability irrespective of age. Would it be so bad to allow healthy people to purchase Medicare?

So what happens tomorrow if the law is overturned? There will be immediate issues with the change in the donut hole as it relates to Medicare part D. There will be changes in that the "wellness visit", included in the act, will no longer be paid for by Medicare. How many diseases will be found later since patients will have to decide to pay for the visit or not have it at all? More importantly, what about the associated laws (HITECH Act) and perception of how healthcare is going to be delivered? Does ACO planning stop? Do the doctors who have sold their practice to hospitals and other organizations because they feared reform now develop seller's remorse? Do the purchasers of medical practices take a deep breath and try to determine what the next steps should be? Will health insurance premiums go down now that community-rating standards for underwriting will not go into effect in the future? Or do they go up because the anticipated, expanded risk pool driven by the mandate has now been cancelled?

Unfortunately, if all or part of the act is reversed we will probably go back to the status quo, as it existed in 2009. There is something inherently wrong when healthcare reform and the delivery of care has been changed into a political debate that will be decided by justices appointed to the Supreme court because of their conservative or liberal ideation. I have always believed that we should not let perfect get in the way of better. Let's hope those in Washington would agree.

About the Author:  Dr. Schimmel is the President of Allied Health Advisors, LLC, a boutique healthcare consultancy in Miami.  He can be reached at 305.803.2469 or  

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 May 2012 19:57
Top South Florida Diagnostic Centers Print E-mail
Written by Digital Wire Service   
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:00

 philips 1.5 t mri
According to the SFBJ, these are the top imaging centers in the region based on patient volume:

5. Jupiter Medical Center

4. North Broward Medical Center

3. Broward Health Broward General Medical Center

2. Coral Springs Medical Center

1. Memorial Hospital West Outpatient Center

Read More.
Great Place to Work in Healthcare Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Monday, 23 April 2012 06:22

According to Becker's ASC Review, these are the 100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare in the U.S. Six Florida companies made the list. They are:

-Baptist Health South Florida (Coral Gables, Fla.)

-BayCare Health System (Tampa Bay, Fla.)

-Doctors Hospital of Sarasota (Florida)

-Harborside Surgery Center
(Punta Gorda, Fla.)

-Melbourne Surgery Center

-Memorial Healthcare System
(Broward & Palm Beach County, Fla.)

Florida compared favorably to the other large states. California boasted eight healthcare facilities while Texas had ten and New York contributed only two. From the Midwest, Illinois had six on the list, Michigan four. New Jersey contributed an impressive seven and Pennsylvania was not far behind with five.

According to the web site "The 2012 list was developed through nominations and extensive research, and the following organizations were chosen for their demonstrated excellence in providing robust benefits, wellness initiatives, professional development opportunities and atmospheres of employee unity and satisfaction."

Last Updated on Monday, 23 April 2012 07:20
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